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[IP] re Insulin Pumpers web site

Dear Mr. Hoese:

I am a member of the Insulin Pumpers Internet Group which has recently 
solicited Minimed for some corporate financial support.  I have worn a 
Minimed pump for almost 7 years and am even a stock holder...so, yes, I have 
a personal "investment" in the pump.

Having had diabetes for 26 years, I have lived most of my life without a 
support group of people with whom I can share my troubles, my good days, my 
concerns, my experiences, and my "vents."  Medical professionals, such as 
doctors and nurses, don't "get" it.  Parents, family and friends have their 
own problems and as much as they say they "care," they don't want to hear 
about the daily trivialities of living with diabetes...and even the Minimed 
help line can't always solve some problems.

I found InsulinPumpers two years ago, and can honestly say that, next to 
being able to eat Ben and Jerry's ice cream and still wake up the next 
morning with a blood sugar of 125, IP has been the best thing to happen to 
diabetes since the pump.  Thanks to Michael and the web site I can ask 
questions, voice concerns, discuss reasons why something hasn't worked, offer 
my expertise, and even wax poetical on why Diabetes does or does not suck.  
While I wait for my CDE to page my endo, ask him a question when he 
eventually calls in, then call me back with an answer or suggestion, but she 
misses me and has to leave a message on my answering machine...I can post the 
question on IP and get back 4 or 5 suggestions within a few minutes...day or 
night!  Not that IP has replaced my doctor altogether (though the collective 
wisdom is certainly much greater), but at the "nth" hour and you need help, 
IP is there.  When you just want to "chat" there is even a web site where we 
can "talk" in real time.  If you want to do research on diabetes, there is a 
search engine and links to useful sites all around the world.

As a very specific example as to how IP is necessary, I was hospitalized last 
year out of town.  I was told I was going to have stomach surgery so I had 
someone post a question to the list:  "where could I put the pump?" In less 
than an hour, I had 5 calls from virtual "friends" across the country giving 
me suggestions.  One person even faxed me the diagram of the body showing 
which parts were good.  I ended up using my leg, and my blood sugars stayed 
between 130 and 190 despite the hospitals best attempts to kill me!  About 2 
hours after I came out of surgery, my endo in NYC called, in response to my 
earlier page...but by then the point was moot.  I have since been able to 
share my experiences, and how to maintain sugars when faced with IV dextrose 
drips, hospital food and some stone age nurse who doesn't know a hypo from a 
hole in the wall.

IP has opened up a new world to many people...there are some skinny folks on 
the list, who never ever considered using a silhouette because their CDE 
showed them only the sof-set.  Thanks to the list, they now know about the 
silhouette which is usually more comfortable for skinny people...Other tricks 
of the trade, hints and suggestions are there for the asking, or the 
searching - the archives are full of information...but possibly most 
important...the humor, love and support that we all desperately need at the 
most inconvenient times....did you know we have created a list of 101 uses 
for extra tubing? we consider ourselves part of the Borg collective, as we 
have been assimilated...we name our pumps and we dress them up in handmade, 
sequined and feathered cases..and on and on.  Parents at wit's end, college 
students faced with stress, pregnant ladies, even the carb count in certain 
bodily fluids are all discussed in an open, free-flowing exchange of words.

We post about new advances in technology and cheer on Nicole Johnson.  We 
post names and addresses of congress people who have let us down and of those 
who are in need of letters of support.  We voice our insurance woes and help 
each other out as if we all lived in the same, small Midwestern town back in 
the 1950s!  One lady in Texas lost her daughter's insurance, and several 
people sent supplies so her child could continue using the pump and living a 
relatively normal life until insurance could be reestablished.

I live in NYC...millions of people, but living with diabetes makes you feel 
awfully alone sometimes.  IP makes us feel like we are not alone.  I have 
met, LIVE, at least a dozen of the IP members -- and "they" say only weirdos 
hang out on the web!  I had a pumper from England stay with me recently; I 
met another from Canada last year, and have gone to Disneyland with another 
while in LA.  I even dated one IP member's brother who lives near me, even 
though the IP member lives 1000 miles away!  

I have fostered REAL friendships and gained REAL insight, not just "virtual". 
 IP is an important part of my life, not just as a pancreatically challenged 
individual.  IP was made possible by the insulin pumps we all wear (or a 
loved one wears), and Minimed made the insulin pump possible.  We offer 
consumer based analysis of the various pumps available, we effect change in 
the design of pumps....we were asking about vibrating pumps two years 
ago....and what is one of the features of the new 508?  Our web site offers 
links and unbiased information for everything available to us as diabetics 
and consumers.   

For these reasons, and many more, I think Minimed ought to consider 
supporting our web site in any way you can!  I am sure Michael would be 
grateful, and I know the members would.  As a gesture, I have already made my 
monetary donation to Michael, and I hope Minimed can do the same


Sara Falconer
for HELP or to subscribe/unsubscribe, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org
send a DONATION http://www.Insulin-Pumpers.org/donate.shtml